Interview: You Me At Six At Their One Night Pop Up ‘You Me At Shish’
For one night only British rock band You Me At Six teamed up with vegan food pioneers Temple Of Seitan to create You Me At Shish, a vegan kebab shop to celebrate the release of their new album VI. We caught up with Josh and Matt at the exclusive event to find out more about the new album, the food what it’s like being vegan on tour.
So your new album VI is out today, congratulations! How are you feeling?
Matt: Very excited. Yeah, it’s only the sixth time we’ve felt this, so it’s still quite a fresh feeling, even though we’ve been a band for ten years, it’s like, we don’t put out many records, very exciting day innit! We’ve only put out six records! Six of them, fucking hell. I always compare us to the Rolling Stones, so we haven’t put enough records out yet, mate.
What’s the aim? How many records will you be happy with?
Matt: Sixty records… Which will be pretty soon, I reckon.
For anyone who hasn’t listened to VI yet, what can you tell us?
Josh: I tried describing to someone earlier and I said, if this album was a holiday destination, it’d be Hawaii. I’m talking pina coladas, good energy, good vibes and good feelings in the songs. A record which is cohesive, only because it’s under the name of You Me at Six, other than that there is like every song is like it’s own island, every song has its own character, it’s own sort of identity.
Matt: Which is something we were really pining after, to really make sure we had that.
Josh: Yeah, totally, like our last record, Night People was quite cohesive and we wanted be like a rock band, whereas on this one, we’ve just gone back to what we love to do. It’s like if you write a song, and if it goes that way, go with it, don’t try and force a song to be something that it’s not. We ended up having ten songs that make sense if you listen to them altogether, but if you do listen to them extremely you can be like wow, does that song go with that?
You’ve spoken about feeling more comfortable with this album than the last, is that about right?
Josh: I think it’s really important to be critical of what you do in life because it gives you some perspective, and with Night People, I would’ve liked for it to have had more of the You Me at Sixstamp on it, the DNA of the band. We try and write these songs that make people feel good and I think that maybe there wasn’t enough of that on the last record. Not to say it’s a bad record, it just didn’t have what I, you know the je ne sais quoi, the va va voom, it didn’t have enough of that. But, yeah I think this record is total rebirth of the band, because we’ve tried things that we’ve never tried before. We gained confidence whilst we were making the record, we were really believing in what we were doing and trusting each other and encouraging one another to not settle and to not make something that felt easy, that was the main thing for us. I think the reaction today from the fans has been a testament to our courage, people have heard it and said, “you’ve done some stuff that’s different, you’ve taken some leaps, but you’ve still maintained something you like about your band.”
Matt: You have to take some leaps, you have to do something that people aren’t going to expect you to do otherwise it’s gonna be standard and no-one wants to do the same record twice, we never want to put out two records that sound exactly the same, you know?
L: And what’s happening today? What’s in store for us?
Matt: Some delicious food. We’ve got some kebabs going on, we got the You Me at Shish, and then we named everything on the menu after our favourite songs on the record.
Josh: This is as close to my idea of heaven as it gets.
Matt: This is like mine and Josh’s dream. A release day at a vegan kebab pop-up shop, I mean come on!
Josh: You can eat everything on the menu, you don’t have to check! None of this, “Mate, you got any vegan falafels at your donor meat kebab house?” No, everything here is kosher. It’s good because it’s bringing together two things that are important to us. To be fair to the other boys in the band that aren’t vegan or vegetarian, they’re very open and always willing to try vegan stuff, even more so in these last few years. We always go out together as a band. It’s always like, “Where we going for dinner?” or, “Which bar we going to?”
Matt: Like meerkats, we move as a unit, always watching each other’s backs.
Josh: Like, if we were going somewhere and one person wasn’t there, we’d be like, “Is he alright today?” We’ve got that relationship. But, the vegan vibe is just like a bonus for tonight.
How is it being vegan on the road?
Josh: We were in South Korea, last summer, that was really tricky. After day 3 of only living off Pringles and plain noodles, I wanted to kill myself. There’s an app called the HappyCow and I turned to my partner at the time and was like, there’s a restaurant called the Loving Hut, but it’s fifteen kilometres away, so we got in a South Korean cab to go and eat some vegan food, we stuck around in that restaurant for a good couple of hours and thought, let’s eat until we can’t physically can’t any more.
Matt: And then take out loads more food. It’s such a good app. Best £4 I’ve spent.
Josh: I was trying to get my friend who’s vegan to buy it and she’s like, yeah, but it’s £4, and I was like, you spend four quid on a crappy cup of coffee, which you have once. Use your noggin’.
What are some of your favourite places to eat?
Josh: We both really enjoy What The Pitta!
Matt: Oh, we love What The Pitta! And Temple Of Seitan obviously!
Josh: Obviously! CookDaily, I’m really lucky, I live like right around the corner from here so, I’ll get Mildred’s, Arancini Brothers, FED By Water.
Matt: I still need to go to that one.
Josh: Mate, you know how much I used to love carbonara, they do a carbonara there which is just the most peng thing you’ve ever had in your life.
Matt: I was at The Gate the other day, love it there, like vegan meringues? With chickpea water? It’s insane, it was delicious.
You Me At Six’s new album ‘VI’ is out now, check it out here.